With SHADOW, director Zhang Yimou (HERO, HOUSE OF FLYING DAGGERS) once again pushes the boundaries of wuxia action to create a film like no other, masterfully painting a canvas of inky blacks and greys punctuated with bursts of color from the blood of the defeated. In a kingdom ruled by a young and unpredictable king, the military commander has a secret weapon: a “shadow”, a look-alike who can fool both his enemies and the King himself. Now he must use this weapon in an intricate plan that will lead his people to victory in a war that the King does not want. (Yimou Zhang, 2018, China, 1:56, NR)
July/August FNWeird: Summer CAMP
There's summer movies, there's campy movies, there's movies about summer camp and then there's SUMMER CAMP.
Nomi (Elizabeth Berkley) arrives in Las Vegas with only a suitcase and a dream of becoming a top showgirl. She quickly befriends Molly (Gina Ravera), who works at the high-profile Stardust Hotel, and lands a job at a seedy strip club. A chance meeting with Cristal (Gina Gershon), the Stardust's marquee dancer, and her powerful boyfriend, Zack (Kyle MacLachlan), brings Nomi one step closer to realizing her dream. But, as she ascends to the top, Nomi begins to wonder if it's all worth it. (Paul Verhoeven, 1995, USA, 2:08, NC-17)
Heroic earthling Flash Gordon saves the world from the nefarious Ming the Merciless in this lavish, intentionally campy adaptation of the famous sci-fi comic strip. The story is as basic as space operas get: Ming (Max von Sydow) has developed a plan to destroy the Earth, and Flash (Sam J. Jones) and his attractive companion, Dale Arden (Melody Anderson), are called upon to stop him. Along the way, Flash must battle Ming's goons and the temptations of a luscious space princess. Previously the basis for a more straight-faced 1930s adventure serial, Flash's story is mined here for exaggerated, cartoon humor by screenwriter Lorenzo Semple Jr., a central figure in the similarly campy '60s Batman television series. The simplistic plot mainly serves as an excuse for spectacular sets and cartoonish action sequences, all set to an appropriately over-the-top rock score by Queen. Certainly not a film to turn to for serious excitement, fine performances, or character development, Flash Gordon has nevertheless developed an appreciative cult of fans who admire the film's humorous approach and the detailed, colorful production design.(Mike Hodges, 1980, UK, 1:51, PG)
After making a name for himself with Pink Flamingos and Desperate Living, director John Waters made a bid for somewhat wider acceptance with this black comedy, which is sedate only by the standards of his previous work.
A suburban housewife's world falls apart when she finds that her pornographer husband is serially unfaithful to her, her daughter is pregnant, and her son is suspected of being the foot-fetishist who's been breaking local women's feet. (John Waters, 1981, USA, 1:26, R)
Sean Connery in a thong would indicate that this is purely a campy mess, but beyond the weird costumes and sets is a serious scifi that almost borders on genius. In a crazy future the privileged class lives in ideal habitats called Vortices where they acheive immortality. Some become so detached and apathetic in their interminable lives that they are called the Apathetics and literally do nothing. Meanwhile outside in the brutal Outlands there are giant floating heads that give guns to Exterminators, like the super-smart, over-sexed and angry Zed. And then it gets weird, plus Charlotte Rampling classes it up a bit. (John Boorman, 1974, Ireland, 1:45, R)
The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert
This gem hit theatres in the 1990s and became an international hit, and helped catapult Guy Pierce and Hugo Weaving to stardom. The movie won an Oscar for best costume design, courtesy of a dress made entirely of flip-flops! Two drag performers and a transgender woman travel across the desert to perform their unique style of cabaret. (Stephan Elliott, 1994, Australia, 1:44, R)
Unleashed just as the disco phenomenon had peaked and was slipping out of public favor, this was low-budget Golan-Globus' answer to the popular rock musical Tommy. When it debuted, audiences booed the movie off the screen, even throwing their complimentary LP soundtrack albums! Now, this futuristic vision of the year 1994 is partly absurd, and partly history. (Menahem Golan, 1980, USA, 1:30, PG)